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The Kid Should See This

Meticulously webbed installations by Chiharu Shiota

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The first artist to take over the Hammer Museum‘s redesigned lobby, Berlin-based Japanese artist Chiharu Shiota uses threads to visualize the invisible web of interwoven and sometimes tangled connections people have in their communities, as well as within their bodies and minds.

“Using red, black, or white yarn as a base material, Shiota often creates meticulously webbed environments that span the length of entire galleries and mimic organic forms such as cobwebs, veins, and fractals. Shiota also includes a range of found objects in her work such as wooden chairs, abandoned shoes, rusted keys, and used dresses as a strategy to implicate the viewer in the artist’s personal narratives that are often universal experiences.”

Chiharu Shiota at the Hammer Museum
Featured in the video below, The Soul Trembles was a 2022 exhibition of Shiota’s work at the Queensland Art Gallery’s Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) in Brisbane, Australia.

“‘The Soul Trembles’ highlights twenty-five years of Chiharu Shiota’s artistic practice. She’s renowned internationally for her transformative, large-scale installations constructed from millions of fine threads that cluster in space or form complex webs that spill from wall to floor to ceiling. Shiota’s beautiful and disquieting works express the intangible: memories, dreams, anxiety and silence.”

Her two ovarian cancer diagnoses partially inspire Shiota’s exploration of human attachments, life, and death. The Signs of Life video below, a promo for her 2023 solo show at the Galerie Templon in New York City, shares more:

“The installation resembles the network of an individual brain sending, receiving, interpreting information, and sharing memory, but it is also synchronizing our collective knowledge in the world, crossing borders, continents, and languages. I want to make this connection visible.”

Chiharu Shiota at Galerie Templon

“I have always had the feeling that our surroundings and the object we own are like a third skin. We accumulate these things and transfer our presence and memory into them. I believed that if death ever took my body, I would not exist anymore. But now I feel that my mind continues to exist. My consciousness is connected to everything that surrounds me and my art remains in the memory of many people.”

Watch these handpicked videos next:
• Motoi Yamamoto’s intricate, temporary salt installations
• The Red Thread (赤い糸): A single line tells a story
Ernesto Neto’s GaiaMotherTree
• The Culture of Us: Yo-Yo Ma’s crowd-sourced music video
• Bisa Butler: Portraits, an Exhibition Story from The Art Institute of Chicago

Bonus: Threads, an animated short by Torill Kove.

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